Members of the Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board have participated in the Somerville online transportation surveys and frequently collaborate with members of Community Access Project, Somerville to help raise awareness and lower barriers to disAbility rights and inclusion in MA. Here is the press release from that Board regarding their recent resolution to oppose statewide Ballot Question 2, “Prescribing Medicine to End Life”:
Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board Votes To Oppose Question 2.
On October 17, 2012, the Advisory Board to the Boston Disability Commission approved a resolution opposing Ballot Question 2, “Prescribing medication to end life.” The vote was unanimous.
The board joins other local and national disability rights organizations in opposing Question 2 Individual members are working with Second Thoughts: People with Disabilities Opposing Question 2, which is comprised of disability rights advocates in Massachusetts. On August 8, John Kelly, Director of Second Thoughts, made a presentation to the board of Question 2.
The board sees a number of problems with the bill, which would place vulnerable people in danger. The board believes the following provisions make this bill dangerous for people with disabilities:
- The bill is unnecessary because every dying person has the right to good palliative care, with effective pain relief. Pain can be relieved, by sedation if necessary.
- Cost cutting and profit maximizing already goes on in healthcare delivery, assisted suicide would become the cheapest treatment, $100. People with disabilities know what it means to be denied or limited coverage.
- 19,000 Massachusetts elders were abused.
- No witness is required when the drugs are taken
- One of the two witnesses can be an heir, someone who stands to gain financially from the person’s death
- No psychiatric consultation is required to screen out mental illness.
- The bill has no provisions for investigatory authority
- The “end of life concerns” reported by the prescribing doctor characterize the lives of many people living with disabilities.
- The word “dignity” is a coded attack on the lives led by people with disabilities, with death as the preferred alternative. The state should not be making value judgments about people’s quality of life.
The board feels very strongly that Question 2 does not uphold the dignity of persons with disabilities, which is an issue that we advocate to be upheld. We feel this would be a step backwards in the way people with disabilities are perceived. Question 2 also lends to the misconception that individuals with disabilities cannot have any “quality of life,” which is a false assumption.
Please join the advisory board for the Boston Disability Commission in opposing Question 2.